Nigeria’s public debt load could reach N77 trillion if the National Assembly approves the President’s, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), request to restructure the Ways and Means Advances.
According to The PUNCH, the Central Bank of Nigeria uses a borrowing instrument called Thee Ways and Means Advances to pay for budgetary gaps in the government.
In 2022, the Federal Government spent N5.24 trillion paying debts.
Director-General of the Debt Management Office, Patience Oniha, revealed this on Wednesday at the public presentation of the 2023 budget by Minister of Finance, Budget, and National Planning, Dr Zainab Ahmed.
She did, however, point out that without N5tn in additional borrowing and N2tn in promissory notes, the debt would be N70tn.
Oniha said, “The DMO released the figure for the country’s debt stock as at September, you don’t expect it to be significantly different from December. Secondly, there are a lot of discussions on the Ways and Means. In addition to the significant costs saving in loans service we would get by securitizing it.
“There is an element of transparency in the sense that it is now reflected in the public debt stock. Once it is passed by the National Assembly, it means we will be seeing that figure included in the public debt. You will see a significant increase in public debt to N77tn.”
She stated that while debt is increasing due to additional borrowing, revenue is becoming increasingly important.
“Like DMO always says, you can’t talk about debt without talking about revenue. We need the two to work together,” she added.
Under the current administration, the FG’s tremendous thirst for borrowing has deteriorated the country’s debt position, with the country’s debt stock rising to N44.06tn as of September last year.
Experts and important stakeholders in the economy had attacked the DMO and the government over the country’s soaring debt levels.